Published on November 8th, 2012 | by Kira0
ViewSonic Smart Display: Great Touchscreen, But Size Isn’t Everything
Do you ever get annoyed by how small your phone’s screen is? How about your iPad or Android tablet? Is bigger always better? We’re not sure that there is one single correct answer to the question, but perhaps it’s not only the size that matters.
Today, we’ve been playing with the a gadget that we first got wind of a few months ago. The idea seemed sound: a monitor with a touchscreen that had a built-in computer, using Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Let us introduce you to the ViewSonic VSD220, which is essentially a large (18.8 inches by 10.6 inches screen) all-in-one stand-alone tablet. If you are a gadget head who likes to test out all the new toys as they come out you will not want to pass this one up, but we do understand those who find themselves asking the question of exactly who needs something like this. After all, it’s the size of a large desktop monitor, meant to be stationary since it does not come with a battery. Even the power cord is rather short.
The system is like any tablet, app based, with a store. And most of the expected basics are there- a solid web browser in Chrome, a document editor that can handle Word files, and a very basic movie editor- combine to make it feel like a little more like a normal computer. In addition, the ViewSonic has USB slots and Bluetooth if you decide you want to connect a keyboard and mouse, or external storage. You’re not getting much built-in storage, but can add additional quite simply. The touch keyboard is sizable and very easy to use, just not great for longer input work since the VSD220 sits upright on the included stand. It was easy to use, but we wouldn’t want to compose documents with our wrists in the air.
The screen is setup very similar to other Android devices, with screens you can organize and swipe through. Any app you can download for your Android you can download for your ViewSonic. This means you can have the biggest most epic game of Angry Birds ever! We did, however, find that the downloading and uploading was a little slow.
It comes with a 720p camera/webcam, which let’s you record video, pictures, or communicate with others. You can see the video recorded below, and listen to our opinion of the webcam here.
Like the webcam, I found the crispness and brightness of the display rather poor. Comparing with Retina displays is unfair, but even against other normal monitors at 1920 x 1080, we found text indistinct and videos less than sharp, and a little jittery. The processor running everything behind the scenes is only a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 1GHz, slower than most newer smartphones, and definitely a bit sluggish, and the single gigagbyte of included RAM can’t help. It’s an interesting package for the price- a decent monitor and pretty responsive touchscreen built around some so-so hardware internals and a slightly older version of Android (no updates to 4.1 Jelly Bean are available).
For a kitchen, it’s great to look up recipes on- but a tablet is still often a better option. For gamers, it’s hard to use, considering the standing screen. Photographers might find it tempting, since it can display photos nicely, but we weren’t thrilled by the sharpness or clarity of the screen. Those looking for commercial or retail interactive signage might be in luck- we can see this being great for service providers with waiting rooms. Available now online and in stores for just under $400, ViewSonic has come up with an interesting first generation of a new category.